This paper discusses the potential and limitations of Bitcoin as a digital currency. Bitcoin as a digital asset has been extensively discussed from the viewpoints of engineering and security design. But there are few economic analyses of Bitcoin as a currency. Bitcoin was designed as a payments vehicle and as a store of value (or speculation). It has no use bar as money or currency. Despite recent enthusiasm for Bitcoin, it seems very unlikely that currencies provided by central banks are at risk of being replaced, primarily because of the market price instability of Bitcoin (i.e. the exchange rate against the major currencies). We diagnose the instability of market price of Bitcoin as being a symptom of the lack of flexibility in the Bitcoin supply schedule ‐ a predetermined algorithm in which the proof of work is the major driving force. This paper explores the problem of instability from the viewpoint of economics and suggests a new monetary policy rule (i.e. monetary policy without a central bank) for stabilizing the values of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Available for download here.